FAQ: What's the Correct Hinge for my Cabinet?

May 16, 2018

The Term “European hinge” collectively refers to self closing, concealed cup hinges. These hinges are found on almost all cabinets, be it in the old world or new. The hinge itself is completely concealed by the cabinet door when the door is closed.

Installation requires a cup, a shallow 35mm hole, to be drilled into the cabinet door. The head of the hinge fits snuggly into this cup creating a bond that is much stronger than screws alone can provide.

The hinge snaps into a bracket installed on the cabinet carcass. The hinges and brackets are sold separately. This is done because a hinge can be used with many different brackets; and vice-versa.

Choosing the correct hinge

European hinges come in many different varieties. Proper planning is required before purchasing the hinges. Here are the things to look for:

Almost all hinges will open to at least 90 degrees. Some swing beyond 180 degrees. Different applications call for different hinges. In a kitchen a 180 degree hinge would cause the doors to hit the cabinet next to it. a 120 degree hinge is the appropriate choice. More is not always better.

Doors can be installed either as an overlay door (the door is wider than the opening and overlaps the faceframe) or as an inset door (the door is smaller than the opening). When purchasing the hinge select a type that fits your door style.

One of the advantages of European hinges is the ability to adjust the fit of the door in as many as 3 directions. Not all hinges offer this feature. Hinges built for mass production do not require to be adjusted. The precision of today’s CNC enabled cabinet shops is near perfect. For one-off work fully adjustable hinges are recommended. Both types function is identical. Adjustability just costs a few cents more per hinge.

Brackets determine how the hinge is connected to the carcass. At the basic level the brackets come in faceframe versions (attach to the faceframe) and cabinet versions (attach to the cabinet directly). Within each category there are different sizes that create different reveals and install options. There is no substitute to reading and understanding the manufacturer’s specifications for the bracket and hinge you are installing. The two have to match and fit your cab